Police believe somebody stole 4-year-old alligator in New Leb

NEW LEBANON—Late last week, State Police in New Lebanon sought the public’s assistance in finding a missing alligator named Kobe.

Authorities initially thought Kobe escaped from his temporary enclosure while his cage was being cleaned the night of August 22 in the vicinity of Cemetery Road, but they now believe he was stolen.

Kobe’s owner, Rhonda Leavitt of Rhonda’s Reptiles, a reptile rescue business in New Lebanon, told authorities that 4-year-old Kobe, which she raised from a hatchling, is an American alligator, 39-inches-long, weighs 15 pounds and was last seen wearing a blue collar.

Animal Control Officer Wes Powell told The Columbia Paper, Wednesday, August 28 that Ms. Leavitt hired a professional alligator tracker from Schenectady to investigate the scene. The tracker concluded that Kobe would not have been able to push open the gate on his enclosure to escape by himself and even if he was able to get out, would not have travelled very far.

Mr. Powell said Kobe has never eaten live food and has only consumed whatever his owner prepares for him.

Police do have a “person of interest” in the case and the area search has concluded, said Mr. Powell.

The reward fund set up to pay for information concerning Kobe’s whereabouts has grown to $850.

Anyone with information about Kobe should call State Police at 845 677-7300.

Hudson

Three people were charged in connection with the stabbing of a father and son, August 22.

The son was initially hospitalized in critical condition, but was subsequently released.

According to a press release, Hudson Police got a call that the victim of a stabbing was at Columbia Memorial Hospital, Thursday at 12:20 a.m. After a trip to the hospital, police were soon led to the Green Street residence of a second victim who was also in need of medical attention.

A short time later, Hudson Police received a call from State Police in Catskill saying they stopped a vehicle for traffic infractions and became suspicious when they noticed that the three vehicle occupants had blood on them.

HPD detectives went to meet with the troopers and the three subjects were returned to Hudson and charged.

They are: Niko Leshaj, 17, of Hudson, charged with first degree gang assault, a class B felony and fourth degree criminal possession of a weapon, a class A misdemeanor; Frank Cruz, 21, of Athens, charged with first degree gang assault, a class B felony and Eric Peterson, 21, of Hudson, charged with first degree gang assault, a class B felony.

Mr. Cruz and Mr. Peterson were arraigned and sent to the Columbia County Jail without bail, pending later court appearances. Niko was arraigned August 23.

The victims are a 21-year-old man and his 47-year-old father. The son suffered stab wounds to his arm, chest and face. He was admitted to Columbia Memorial Hospital listed in critical condition and was later released.

The father, who suffered contusions, abrasions and a cut to his head, was treated and released from the hospital. The assault occurred outside a Green Street residence near Fairview Avenue. The victims were familiar with their assailants.

“This is a great example of teamwork and communications between police agencies. I commend the New York State Police as well as the officers and detectives of our department for their swift and competent response. This city would have suffered had these vicious criminals remained at large for long,” Hudson Police Chief Edward Moore said in the release.

Drugs/alcohol

The following face drug- and/or alcohol-related charges:

*Mark J. Decker, Jr., 21, of Athens was charged with driving while intoxicated, a misdemeanor, and unlawful possession of marijuana, a violation, by State Police from the Livingston barracks, July 20 at 1:49 a.m. Mr. Decker was pulled over on State Route 23, Greenport for failure to maintain his lane of travel. Troopers conducted field sobriety tests on Mr. Decker which he failed. He was also found to be in possession of marijuana. He provided a breath sample which yielded a .10% blood alcohol content. He was issued tickets ordering him to appear in Greenport Court.

*Anthony Bueti, 31, of Carmel was charged with third degree aggravated unlicensed operation and unlawful possession of marijuana by State Police from New Lebanon, July 21. Troopers stopped Mr. Bueti for an equipment violation and found that his driving privileges were suspended and he possessed marijuana. He was issued tickets returnable in New Lebanon Court.

*Abu Husan, 27, of Hudson was charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs, unlawful possession of marijuana and vehicle and traffic law violations by State Police from Livingston, July 22 at 12:05 a.m. Troopers pulled Mr. Husan over for failure to keep right in Livingston. They detected the odor of marijuana and administered field tests which Mr. Husan was unable to perform. He was also found to be in possession of a small amount of marijuana. He was issued tickets returnable in Livingston Court.

*Nicholas J. Panetta, 31, of Valatie was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance and possession of a hypodermic instrument by Hudson Police Officer Jeffrey Keyser at 13 Fairview Avenue, Hudson, July 22 at 10:43 p.m. Mr. Panetta allegedly illegally possessed a hypodermic instrument and a small amount of heroin. He was arraigned by Judge John Connor in City Court and sent to the county jail in lieu of $1,000 cash bail or $2,000 bond to return at a later date.

*Uraina L. Owens, 23, of Poughkeepsie was charged with failure to exercise due care for a stopped emergency vehicle and unlawful possession of marijuana, a violation, by State Police from the Livingston barracks, July 26 at noon. Ms. Owens was pulled over on State Route 9 in Clermont when she failed to exercise due care for an emergency vehicle. She was subsequently found to be in possession of marijuana. She was issued tickets ordering her to appear in Clermont Court at a later date.

*Daniel C. Shaut, 39, of New Lebanon was charged with driving while intoxicated by State Police from New Lebanon, July 29. Mr. Shaut refused to take a breath test. He was arraigned in New Lebanon Court before Justice Jessica Byrne and released on his own recognizance to reappear at a later date.

*Kaitlyn E. Cleveland, 26, of Pittsfield, MA, was charged with possession of a controlled substance by State Police at New Lebanon, July 30. Ms. Cleveland and her front seat passenger, who was not identified by police, were issued tickets to appear in New Lebanon Court at a later date.

*Ryan M. Overocker, 28, of Mechanicville was charged with using a cellular telephone while driving and unlawful possession of marijuana by State Police from New Lebanon, July 31. Troopers pulled Mr. Overocker over on Route 20, New Lebanon after seeing him using his phone.

They subsequently discovered that he was in possession of marijuana. He was issued tickets returnable in New Lebanon Court at a later date.

*Peter W. VanAlstyne, 45, of Hudson was charged with seventh degree criminal possession of a controlled substance by Hudson Police Officer Dean Rowe at 15 North Fifth Street, July 31 at 10:24 p.m. Mr. VanAlstyne allegedly possessed nine hydrocodone pills. He was released on an appearance ticket returnable in City Court at a later date.

*Naomi E. Jaeger, 27, of East Nassau was charged with driving while intoxicated and driving with a suspended license by State Police at New Lebanon, August 1. She provided a breath sample with a .13% blood alcohol content and was issued tickets returnable in New Lebanon Court at a later date.

*Crystal A. Dorn, 22, of Ancram was charged with seventh degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a misdemeanor; third degree aggravated unlicensed operation, a misdemeanor, and unlawful possession of marijuana, a violation by State Police from Livingston, August 5 at 4:08 p.m. Troopers pulled Ms. Dorn over on State Route 82, Taghkanic after her vehicle was seen traveling at a high rate of speed. Further investigation revealed that her New York State driving privileges were revoked and that she had marijuana and a controlled substance. She was issued several tickets ordering her to appear in Taghkanic Court at a later date.

*Daniel Dobson, 45, of Cold Spring was charged with driving while intoxicated by State Police from Livingston, August 3 at 12:30 a.m. Troopers pulled Mr. Dobson over for having an inadequate headlight. They detected the odor of an alcoholic beverage when they interviewed the driver and administered sobriety tests which he could not perform. Mr. Dobson submitted to a breath test resulting in a .08% blood alcohol content. He was issued tickets returnable in Taghkanic Court, August 15.

*Miguel Gonzalez, 27, of Kinderhook was charged with driving while intoxicated and aggravated driving while intoxicated (Leandra’s Law) by State Police from Livingston, August 3 at 11:15 p.m. Troopers pulled Mr. Gonzalez over failure to keep right on State Route 9H in Ghent. Troopers detected the odor of an alcoholic beverage when they interviewed the driver and administered sobriety tests which Mr. Gonzalez could not perform. He was operating the motor vehicle with a one-year-old passenger. He was issued tickets returnable in Ghent Court at a later date.

*Andrew M. Flaherty, 34, of Canaan was charged with speeding and unlawful possession of marijuana by State Police from New Lebanon, August 6. Troopers pulled Mr. Flaherty over on State Route 20, New Lebanon for speeding. He was issued tickets returnable in New Lebanon Court August 22.

*Matthew D. Meizinger, 28, of New Lebanon was charged with possession of a hypodermic instrument and seventh degree criminal possession of a controlled substance by New Lebanon Troopers, August 7 following a dispute at his residence. He was issued tickets returnable in New Lebanon Court.

*William P. Maynes, 58, of Nassau was charged with driving while intoxicated by State Police from Kinderhook, August 11. Troopers stopped Mr. Maynes for vehicle and traffic law violations in Kinderhook. He was subsequently found to be intoxicated. He provided a breath sample yielding a .09% blood alcohol content and was issued tickets returnable in Kinderhook Town Court.

*Joseph P. Lalka, 61, of Chatham was charged with driving while intoxicated by State Police from New Lebanon, August 12 at 10:20 p.m. Troopers received a report of a disabled vehicle on State Route 22 in Austerlitz. When they arrived to assist, the driver, Mr. Lalka, was found to be intoxicated. He provided a breath sample yielding a .09% blood alcohol content and was issued tickets returnable in Austerlitz Court.

*Cameron G. Pease, 19, of Otis, MA, was charged with driving while intoxicated by State Police from New Lebanon, August 12 at 2:41 a.m. Troopers stopped Mr. Pease for failure to keep right on State Route 295, Canaan. During an interview, troopers found that he was intoxicated. Mr. Pease provided a breath sample yielding a .08% blood alcohol content and was issued tickets returnable in Canaan Court August 28.

*Cory A. Jornov, 24, of Niverville was charged with first degree aggravated unlicensed operation, seventh degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, unlawful possession of marijuana and driving while ability impaired by State Police from New Lebanon, August 13 at 2:10 a.m. Troopers stopped Mr. Jornov for failing to use the right half of the roadway on Little Lake Road, Chatham. While interviewing him, troopers found that Mr. Jornov’s driving privileges were suspended, he was in possession of cocaine and marijuana, and he was operating his motor vehicle after consuming alcohol. Mr. Jornov provided a breath sample of with a .07% blood alcohol content and was issued tickets returnable in Chatham Town Court August 28.

*Justin G. Gergely, 28, of West Suffield, CT, was charged with felony driving while ability impaired by drugs, five counts of seventh degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, misdemeanors; criminal possession of a hypodermic instrument, a misdemeanor; and unlawful possession of marijuana, a violation, by State Police from the New Lebanon barracks, August 18 at 8 p.m. Troopers stopped Mr. Gergely when they saw him traveling on US Route 20 in New Lebanon with an inoperable tail lamp and an inadequate exhaust. During an interview, troopers found him to be impaired by a drug other than alcohol. Troopers administered field sobriety tests which Mr. Gergely failed. A Drug Recognition Expert confirmed the troopers’ findings. Among the illegal drugs seized from Gergely were LSD, heroin, MDMA, crystal methamphetamine, hashish and marihuana. MDMA is the hallucinogen known as “ecstasy.” Gergely was also found with 4 hypodermic needles. Other substances were seized and were sent to the lab for further analysis. He was arraigned in New Lebanon Court and sent to jail in lieu of $500 cash bail.

To contact Diane Valden email .

County Court cases:

The following court cases were recently dealt with in Columbia County Court. Information about the cases was provided by the office of Columbia County District Attorney Paul Czajka:

*Keith Babcock’s four-day trial on a charge of aggravated driving while intoxicated (with a child passenger less than 16) charge ended with a hung jury, June 28. Judge Richard Koweek presided. Mr. Babcock was arrested by State Police August 3, 2012. He was represented by Attorney William Rota, who asked the court to dismiss the case against his client on the grounds of double jeopardy; the DA agreed that the indictment could not be re-presented. Judge Koweek dismissed the indictment with prejudice, July 17.

*Kendra VanSlyke, (co-defendant Kyle Buono), was convicted on her plea of guilty to fourth degree grand larceny before Judge Jonathan D. Nichols, June 26. She was represented by Attorney Shane Zoni. She was arrested by Sheriff’s deputies December 5 2012. Sentencing was set for September 3.

*Kyle Buono, (co-defendant Kendra VanSlyke), was convicted of second degree attempted burglary on his plea of guilty before Judge Nichols, June 26. He was represented by the Public Defender. He was arrested by Sheriff’s deputies December 6, 2012. Sentencing was set for September 3.

*Jonathan Ramirez was convicted of third degree attempted burglary upon his plea of guilty before Judge Nichols, June 26. He was represented by Attorney Shane Zoni and was arrested by State Police March 29. Sentencing is set for September 3.

*Charles Murphy appeared before Judge Richard M. Koweek, July 1 for a pre-trial hearing on third and fourth degree criminal possession controlled substance. He was represented by Attorney Michael Howard and was arrested by State Police, October 12, 2011. His trial is set for January 13, 2014. –Diane Valden

 

 

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